Kibitzing kitchen table: bless the animals


Tule elk graze at Point Reyes National Seashore on Saturday, July 3, 2021. (Sherry LaVars/Marin Independent Journal)

Marin tule elk herd receives emergency water supply

“Amid historic drought conditions this year, the Point Reyes National Seashore deployed emergency water supplies for the second year in a row to prevent the deaths of Tule elk on the park’s Tomales Point Reserve.

“Last year, the National Park Service made the unprecedented decision to place seven water troughs, reservoirs and lick blocks on the 2,900-acre preserve in response to the severe drought. The preserve has approximately 220 elk that are separated from the rest of the park by a 3-mile, 8-foot-high fence along its southern border.

“The troughs were installed following mass mortality on the reserve between the drought-stricken winters of 2019-20 and 2020-21 when the herd fell from 445 elk to 293. Prior to that, approximately 250 elk died at the during the period 2013-2015. drought under similar conditions, according to park staff. The herd numbered 221 elk at the last count last winter.

“The park attributed the deaths to poor nutrition of the grasses and forages the elk feed on, but not to a lack of clean drinking water, as claimed by some environmental organizations.”

PETA offers youhe follows the advices to help animals during a drought

  • Prepare shallow water bowls for wildlife.In drinking troughs and other waters

    smooth-sided containers, place rocks or other means for birds, bats and other animals to escape. Animals died in drought-affected areas because they had no access to water and drowned in deep containers.

  • Keep animals indoors. Unlike humans, dogs can only sweat through their paw pads and cool off by panting, so even brief exposure to the sun can have life-threatening consequences. Anyone who sees animals in distress and is unable to help them should note their location and alert authorities immediately.
  • Never leave an animal inside a hot vehicle. Temperatures can rise quickly in parked cars, and a dog trapped inside can die of heatstroke within minutes, even if the car is in the shade with the windows slightly open. PETA Deals an emergency window-breaking hammer to help you intervene in life or death situations.
  • Avoid hot pavement. When outside temperatures reach the 80s, asphalt temperatures can soar to 140 degrees, causing pain, burning and permanent damage to dogs’ paws after just a few minutes of contact. Walk dogs on grass whenever possible and avoid walking in the middle of the day. Never run with dogs in hot weather they will crumble before giving up, in which case it may be too late to save them.


Drought conditions increase opportunities for human-wildlife interactions.

  • Store garbage, pet food and horse/livestock grain indoors.
  • Dispose of trash regularly and wash trash cans to reduce odors.
  • Clean the grates after each use to reduce grease and odors. If possible, store them inside a garage or building.
  • Regularly clean areas under bird feeders. If bears are a major problem in your area, consider removing bird feeders until winter.
  • Clean up fallen or rotten fruits and vegetables in yards and gardens. Rotten fruit attracts bears, raccoons and skunks.
  • Be aware that well-watered lawns and gardens can also attract more rodents, which are prey for snakes. In recent weeks, reports of people seeing snakes in city parks have increased.
  • If you encounter stray wildlife such as bears, cougars, deer and poisonous snakes in a park or other public use area, contact local law enforcement officials so that warning signs can be posted in areas to inform others of potential hazards.…

The National Wildlife Fund offers many easy ways to help wildlife in your backyard.

Make a special effort to keep your birdbaths full or consider get one if you don’t currently have one.
  1. Hang one “drip pitcher” above your birdbath – a basic plastic milk jug filled with water with a small hole in the bottom. Birds will hear the drip and it will entice them for a cool bath and drink. There are a number of great ways to decorate your garden with aquatic elements including misters, bubblers and more.
  2. Take out some additional containers filled with water. Placing a few containers (a little deep and a little deeper) on the ground will help other critters such as ground squirrels, raccoons, and many others.
  3. Use water-saving gardening practices like using a generous amount of mulch to cover garden beds. This will help insects, worms and other invertebrates.
  4. watering the plants in your garden will help keep them healthy with natural humidity and droplets are a favorite of bees and butterflies.
  5. Don’t forget the hummingbirds – they depend on plant nectar and summer conditions can dry up natural reserves that a good hummingbird feeder can help replace. You can make your own nectar and can learn more about hummingbird feeders from NWF.
  6. Often, communities will implement watering restrictions during times of drought. These are good times for capture water that might otherwise be wasted. One thing a lot of people do is put a bucket (or two) in their shower. As you bathe, the bucket fills with drinking water for wildlife that would otherwise go down the drain. (Make sure the soap doesn’t get into the bucket.) Many communities encourage residents to install rain barrels in their gardens that collect rainwater from the roof and store it for drier periods.
  7. And remember that a garden that has food, water and shelter for local wild creatures, big or small, and would make a great NWF Certified Wildlife Habitat®. It’s easy and fun.…


Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who want to share a virtual kitchen table with other Daily Kos readers who don’t throw pies at each other. Stop by to talk about music, your time, your garden or what you cooked for supper…. Newcomers may notice that many who post in this series already know each other to some degree, but we welcome guests to our kitchen table and hope to make new friends as well.

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